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How to Dispute Removal Company Damages

Katie Cullen
Written by Katie Cullen
15th March 2017 (Last updated on Tuesday 6th August 2019)

If you experience any damages with your removal company, you will need to contact the company directly, as well as checking their insurance and any BAR membership.

Removal companies are often meticulous to ensure your belongings are safe and secure during transit. When taking on a job, they also take on the responsibility of ensuring your belongings are handled carefully and safely. However, accidents can occur and some companies can be careless which is why it’s so important to compare and research the company before choosing. 

Rest assured, all of Compare My Move's partners go through a strict verification process so that you know you're working with a trusted and highly experienced team. They are all also fully-insured for extra peace of mind that you and your belongings are completely protected throughout the journey. 

In the unlikely and unfortunate circumstances that you may experience damage to your belongings during your house removals, there are some things you should know before disputing these claims. We’ve created this guide to help you through the process in the unfortunate instance that you may need to dispute a removal company for any damage done.

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This article will cover the following points

Are You Insured? Do They Have a BAR Membership? Referring to The Furniture Ombudsman What You'll Need to Provide Small Claims Court Finding a Trusted Removals Team

Are You Insured?

First, you need to find out whether or not you and your belongings are insured. Your items may be covered by Goods in Transit insurance if your removal company has specified so in writing and if they have packed your belongings for you. This will protect you from any damages that occur during your move and ensures that all costs will be taken from the removal company if the worst should happen.

As standard, all removal companies that are partnered with Compare My Move must be able to provide evidence of having both Goods in Transit insurance and Public Liability insurance. Both these insurances protect you and your belongings from any accidents, damage or carelessness on the part of the removal company, as well as ensuring appropriate compensation is made.

If you are not using Compare My Move, be warned that not every removal company offers Goods in Transit insurance or Public Liability insurance, so it’s always worth asking before signing any contracts. All reputable and trustworthy companies should be covered by these, so if they do not, take this as a red flag and be wary of continuing with them.

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Do They Have a BAR Membership?

If your removal company does not provide Goods in Transit Insurance, you may want to check whether they are a member of the British Association of Removers (BAR). If you have a grievance with a removal company who is a BAR member, then the organisation suggests you confront the removal company first, within one year after the move took place.

The removal company must acknowledge your complaint within three working days of receipt before conducting an internal investigation into your claim. Following their investigation, you should receive a formal written outcome within 15 days of the complaint.

If you’re still dissatisfied with the outcome, you can contest their decision and the removal company must then provide a written statement expressing their final viewpoint. You can find the BAR website here if you would like more information. 

Complaints made against a BAR Member are handled exclusively by The Furniture Ombudsman (TFO) whose Consumer and Member Services team can be conducted on 0333 241 3209. Should you still be dissatisfied with the outcome, you can refer your complaint to TFO which we will explain in further detail below.

Referring to The Furniture Ombudsman

The Furniture Ombudsman (TFO) is an approved consumer dispute resolution body that looks at providing resolution for disputes in the property sector. However, there are a few things you need to consider before doing this:

  1. You should only consult the property ombudsman after you have completed the steps outlined in the section above.
  2. Once you have received your removal company’s final viewpoint in writing, you can refer your complaint to TFO.
  3. You must refer your complaint to TFO within 12 months of your BAR member removal company’s final viewpoint.

A representative from TFO will guide you through the steps proceeding your complaint. Should you need immediate urgent advice, or if you have any questions regarding this process, call the BAR Consumer Affairs Team on 01923 699 486 or you can fill out a complaints form online. You must contact a BAR representative first before continuing with TFO. 

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What You'll Need to Provide

While each claim will be different, there are a number of things you can do to support your dispute with a removal company if they have damaged your furniture and/or other items.

Take Pictures of the Damage

It’s essential to document damage by taking pictures of all the items that were harmed by your moving company. Take photos from a variety of angles, especially close up shots to show the extent of the damage caused. 

Pictures should be taken with good lighting and with a relatively high-resolution camera. Once you have these images, make sure you keep all pieces of the item together in a bag as further evidence.

Make an Inventory of Damaged Items

Alongside your photos, you should create an inventory of all the damaged items and their monetary value to help strengthen your claim.

It may be difficult to come up with a monetary value for old items, but have a look for any receipts or their value in shops if something similar is still for sale.

Document All Contact with the Removal Company

Whether you are contacting your removal company by phone, mail, email or in person, be sure to document all the times and dates you spoke about the damage caused and the complaints made. Note down the dates of every conversation and be sure to keep copies of written material from both you and the company.

A good document to have is the contract you signed and a copy of the company's insurance if it was provided to you. While you should not necessarily need to use this information unless the issue isn’t easily resolved, it’s good to have this information on hand if required. 

Claire Watson, 28th January 2019
"Quick, efficient and friendly service. Everything was moved with care. Great value for money."

Small Claims Court

If all else fails and you’re still unsatisfied with the outcome of TFO’s decision, you may consider taking your claim to small claims court. Each claim constitutes a fee dependent on the amount of money you are claiming for, but to begin, you can make a claim online or via a physical form. 

Following the outcome of the court, you will hear whether the defendant will have to pay you or not. However, if you’re still unhappy with your outcome, and the monetary value is under £10,000, then the court may refer you to the meditation service for you to come to an agreement with the removal company themselves.

It’s worth reiterating that it’s extremely unlikely for your belongings to be damaged during a move, especially with Compare My Move partners. All our removal companies provide evidence of insurance and have been through a strict verification process to ensure that they’re trustworthy companies who we would be happy partnering with. Our users are our priority and we aim to ensure that every removal is a positive and successful experience.

Finding a Trusted Removals Team With Compare My Move

To avoid these disputes, it’s always recommended to compare removal companies to find the ones most qualified, reliable and with the most experience. All Compare My Move partners go through a strict verification process so that you know you’re working with the best in the business. Simply fill out our quick and easy form today to get connected with up to 6 trusted removal firms near you.